Ketil Froyn's blog

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Sun, 07 Jun 2009

Suggestion: HTML REF tag


I have a suggestion for a new HTML tag. My unresearched suggestion is to make it the REF tag, and it could work something like this: <ref href="http://www.example.com/">>Some text</ref>.

The behaviour of a REF tag should very closely mimic the behaviour of the A tag, in that it creates a clickable link. The semantics, however, are different. It should be taken to mean that the current page is referring to the page referenced, http://www.example.com/ in the example given. To a reader (bot or human), it should be interpreted as "the current page is a reference to the information on the URL given, as an answer, corroboration, disputing the information, or in other ways responding to the information given at URL".

This could be used by the author of a page to indicate that she is giving a specific reply to another page. If I were to comment on an article published online by CNN or The BBC, I would add a REF tag to my page, and search engines and other services could display this is a comment. A browser plugin, for example, could use such a service to show a reader of the original page a synopsis of my article, thereby giving anyone the possibility to reply to any article published online by anyone, on their own page, and still let it be discoverable.

It is possible that only one REF tag should be accepted per page. Perhaps it should be allowed only in the <HEAD> of a document? I'll leave that to more well informed people to decide.



posted at: 15:44 | path: /2009/06/07 | permanent link to this entry